The asylum relay and the no border musical - doing of politics

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Pouran Djampour* and Emma Söderman**

*Malmö University and **Lund University, Sweden

Djampour, P., & Söderman, E. (2015). The Asylum Rally and No Border Musical – Doing of politics. In F. J. García Castaño, A. Megías Megías, & J. Ortega Torres (Eds.), Actas del VIII Congreso sobre Migraciones Internacionales en España (Granada, 16-18 de septiembre de 2015) (pp. S36/15–S36/24). Granada: Instituto de Migraciones.


And one important thing, we did politics through the musical. As I said, in that way we could accuse politicians, against racist politicians that treated refugees in bad ways. For example the racist politicians that came up with the Dublin Regulation2, which is a dangerous rule that plays with people’s lives. And

then we could show on stage that this is not human rights and in that way I think we did politics. And we could change a bit, or a lot maybe… (Siamak, member of the musical, 2013-09-13).

e want people to know and understand the other face of the refugee politics. The face that we have been encountered by but which is not visible in the media. The real face that is hidden behind all the nice descriptions. […] That’s what the relay is about, not how long we’ve walked or if we have pain in our feet. It’s about why we are doing this. (Abbas, from the relay 2013.09.06)

The quotes above are from Siamak who participated in the No Border Musical and Abbas, who attended the Asylum Relay in 2013, a protest march from Malmö to Stockholm. These two groups consisted of people with different legal statuses3 who worked to draw attention to and change the

migration policy. In the following, we ask ourselves what these forms of organization can teach us about political subjectivity, how is it made possible in a social order where citizenship is seen as a precondition for political participation? Undocumentedness is a condition created by laws within the nation state and should therefore not be understood as a fixed identity or category. It should thus be clarified that this text is not about the categorisation of undocumented, but about the political subjectivity created within the work of the musical and the relay. Within the academy, there is a growing literature analysing how undocumented persons, through actions, challenge the image of them as outside the sphere of political participation (for example see McNevin 2011, Nyers, Rygiel 2012, Squire 2009). Our text contributes to the literature in this field by making an empirically based analysis setting out from close participant observation.

The musical group was formed in 2011 and worked with writing scripts, shaping an ensemble and performing in Malmö, Stockholm and Norrköping until the last performance on Young Royal Dramatic Theatre (Unga Dramaten) in Stockholm in the autumn of 2013. The Asylum Relay began to organize themselves as a group in early 2013 and during the summer a 34 days walk was conducted from Malmö to Stockholm4. In this paper we discuss the organising of the musical and the relay and

two specific events. The section The struggle against the deportation is about what happened when one of the musical members was arrested and then deported, and the section The meeting with the Migration Board tells of the Asylum Relay’s demands to get a meeting with the Swedish Migration Board. The analysis of these events aims to investigate the difficulties as well as the possibilities for political subjectivity. The Asylum Relay and No Border Musical can be understood as part of a larger refugee rights movement in Malmö and Sweden. We have been active in this movement in different ways before and parallel to our doctoral studies. Our experiences vary, but we have in common that we have worked with the organization of support to people residing as undocumented and tried to contribute to a change of the policies that produce vulnerable situations for people without residence permits. Thus, we have a closeness and pre-knowledge to this area of research. We have been members both as activists and researchers in the No Border Musical and the Asylum Relay. Emma has been a participating researcher and activist in the musical ensemble from the beginning of 2012 and Pouran participated in the summer of 2013 in the relay as an activist, and later also as a participating researcher.

2 The Dublin Regulation is a binding measure of European Community law, which determines the first EU country that the

asylum seeker arrives to as responsible for examining the application. If the asylum seeker seeks asylum in another EU country he/she will in most cases (there are exceptions to this rule, however, they are applied restrictively in Sweden) be deported back to the first country.

3 Some people lived as undocumented during part of the work on the musical and the relay, some were in the asylum

process and others had experienced migration control through meetings with people in these situations.

4In the summer of 2014 the Asylum Relay was also carried out from Malmö to the Almedalen Week in Gotland. The group

is still active and organizes various forms of protests. Seeån-Malmö-till-Stockholm-för-en-human-flyktingpolitik/183094248506530?fref=ts


This paper begins with a presentation of our theoretical framework followed by a discussion of the organization of the relay and musical, and of the above mentioned events. Finally, we present our key arguments and some general reflections on political subjectivity and the difficulties that can arise when theoretical analysis is applied to lived experiences.


Refugees are often portrayed as abstract figures, in despair, helpless in need of help. Representations of the refugee and/or stateless, undocumented person are many times disconnected from the social, political and historical context, contributing to the representation of the refugee as speechless, depoliticized, dehistoricized and universalized victim (Rajaram 2002). The overall context of humanitarianism, where refugees are portrayed as ‘mere humans’ without any representation of specific experiences in relation to political contexts, consequently empties all political subjectivity from the refugee subjectivity (Nyers 1999: 20). Several theorists have linked this depravation of political subjectivity to the stateless persons’ lack of citizenship (see for example Hannah Arendt 1951). As mentioned, there is a growing literature analysing how undocumented persons, through actions, challenge the image of them as apolitical (for example see McNevin 2011, Nyers, Rygiel 2012, Squire 2009). These analyses are often inspired by the French philosopher Jacques Rancière. He has contributed to variation of fields, including education, politics and arts. In this text we will mainly discuss Rancière’s theory of politics, which is connected to his notions demos, police and dissensus.

For Rancière the political subject is the people, demos. His understanding of the people differs however from the meaning of the word when used in the everyday. According to Rancière the people is constituted of “those who have no part”, that is “the unaccounted” for. This in contrast to the order he refers to as the police, which is the order that claims that all the parts of the common have been counted for and everyone or every group have been assigned their correct positions within this order. The order is represented as a system for distribution and legitimisation. It is what commonly is thought of as politics: distribution of power, roles and positions, that is, processes where consensus between groups is reached. However, for Rancière this is not politics, but its opposite: the police. The police defines which experiences can be made visible and what claims can be heard, it operates through establishing limits for possible experiences (Arsenjuk 2007: 3,4).

Politics then in Rancière’s thinking is always a conflictual process, a process that contests the police’s distribution of power, roles and positions. What politics does is that it claims that a “wrong” has been made in the police counting. In other words, there is always a part that has no part in the counting (that is demos), a part that has no name. Politics is enacted when those who are not counted as political subjects by the police acts as if they were political subjects. In these processes there is a rupture in the police order of things. In contrast to the police order of consensus, Rancière calls this rupture dissensus, which is the essence of politics (Rancière 2001: 11).

In the community of states, certainly undocumented persons, lacking legal status and a place in the world, can be considered as those who have no part. However, Rancière does not point out certain social groups or parts of the population as the ‘un-accounted’ for. In the police order, undocumented persons can be seen as counted for, but counted in as deportable and easily exploitable objects, and not as political subjects.

Politics, and this is what interests Rancière, happens when those unaccounted for challenge the police categorization and claim to be audiable as political subjects instead of just being categorized as for example exploitable and deportable. Since Rancière takes his point of departure in acts, dissensus is temporal. Politics concerns a temporal rupture that challenge who is counted as a political subject and

what is viewed as a political question.


The idea of starting a musical to ”highlight the situation of undocumented persons in Sweden [and] to tell about the resistance towards today’s restrictive asylum policy” (Palme Foundation 2011) came from members of the local refugee rights organization Asylum group in Malmö, Sweden. Efforts to create a


script started in 2011 with a number of workshops that involved 25-30 people with different legal statuses. At the beginning of 2012 the framework for a script was ready. The next step was to begin to form an ensemble. From this part of the project Emma participated as an active member of the musical. In December 2012 the musical had premiere with a performance consisting of two acts. The musical has since performed dozens of times in different parts of the country and about 1600-1700 people have seen the performance.

In early 2013 a group came together to discuss the idea of getting from Malmö to Stockholm in a sort of protest march. The initiative came from a young person who at the time was living as undocumented. A planning group was formed consisting of young people with experience of migration control, along with people who were active in various non-profit organizations. After six months of planning the goal of the march, itinerary and partner organizations was concretized. The project was named: ”Asylum Relay 2013 - For a humane refugee policy.” The relay departed from Möllevångstorget in Malmö on July 14, where Pouran’s participation began and ended in Stockholm on August 16. Several participants in the musical and the relay had early experiences of being controlled, locked up and thrown suspicion upon because of lack of citizenship. Many left their countries of origin5 when

they were under 18, some as young as five, six years. The participants in the two groups varied over time, both in composition and number. The musical ensemble grew as the planning and rehearsals were going on. In its final phase the group consisted of about 30 people, including 14 boys and a girl who shared the experience of forced migration and migration control. The attendance on the relay was bigger than the planning group initially anticipated. The core team that went all the way consisted of about 20 people of mixed ages, gender and legal status. In addition, participants joined from different parts of the country, some only for a few hours, others for several days during the relay. In total about 1000 people have walked some part of the nearly 800 kilometre stretch from Malmö to Stockholm. That the members of the relay and the musical were inspired by each other, and that several persons had been included in both groups, became clear during the second relay in the summer of 2014 when a new musical group called ”Relay-theatre” was formed. We will not discuss the 2014 relay in this text. But we can say that the musical and the relay should be understood as dynamic processes which can not be separated with a defined beginning and end, but rather as parts of a larger refugee rights movement based in Malmö.


Undocumentedness has permeated and affected the working processes of both the musical and the relay. Recurring discussions on how to assure actual security as well as on how to increase feelings of safety were held in light of the threats of deportation that the members of the musical and the relay experienced. Locations for meetings and rehearsals were frequently changed. Other measures taken involved controlling that there were several exists from the facilities used, organising in smaller units, avoiding mentioning that undocumented participated when making public statements, sending out warnings of police controls through cell phones, moving in larger groups when there had been racist threats circulating on blogs etcetera. For those who were undocumented there was a constant fear of the police in the everyday. Many remained mostly in their homes and were afraid when going and coming from rehearsals and meetings. At the same time they took part in contexts where they put themselves in the spotlights, as speakers at demonstrations or as actors on a stage. The formation of a safe space was fundamental in the process of being able to make oneself visible as a political subject. In our field work one central dimension in this process was to get to know each other.

Erfan: From the beginning I did not know you, I did not know who you are, and I could not trust you. You know, when we rehearsed I was really scared.

Emma: You were?


Erfan: Yes, really afraid, I thought if the police come I am ready to run or whatever (Interview musical participant 2014-02-05)

In both groups ways of working and organising is something that has developed over time. To work in smaller groups, to have rounds where everyone could talk without being interrupted, sharing of responsibilities, are examples of practical organising. During the relay separate meetings where only asylum seekers, undocumented, or persons with experiences of t3he asylum process, were frequently held in order to plan the political strategies of the relay. The purpose with the relay was not only to spread awareness, but central was also how and by whom the information was distributed. It was of importance that those that had experience of undocumentedness had great impact and represented the relay in different contexts. After a meeting in a small town in the south of Sweden, one of the participants in the relay pointed out that:

Alireza: We are the ones who make this relay happen now. We are activists now (2013-07-23)

To work together in such large groups where members spoke different languages and had varying preconditions depending on age, gender, class, etcetera, was a great challenge. The working processes have neither in the musical nor in the relay been without conflicts. There were occasions when the participants raised that they were not listened to or taken seriously, and there were conflicts between participants. The musical and the relay went through intensive working periods, especially during the relay where the participants spent one month together without any breaks. The working processes created intimacy and strong bonds, but also friction and conflict.

In our field work it was evident that the relay and the musical had functions beyond just being platforms for critiquing the migration policy. To reside without documents in Sweden often mean a more or less isolated existence. Participation in the musical and the relay was a welcome interruption of the isolation and it also provided chances to meet new friends and to see new places in Sweden. In the quote below, Siamak describes this as his primary motivation to join the musical:

But I knew nothing of the musical, what is a musical. But all the time I was looking for places to go, to get new friends, because I felt really lonely. That’s why I joined the musical (2013-09-13)

To publicly perform, in a theatre, as a speaker at a demonstration or by making a statement in the media, were important components in the work of the relay and the musical. As already mentioned, it involved spreading knowledge and a critique of the migration policies and its consequences. A fundamental part of this was that the members shared their experiences of flight and of being in Sweden.

Unfortunately there are very few in Sweden who are aware of how the refugee politics affect, who know how it is to be undocumented and in hiding (gömd). If you are undocumented you lack all your rights, you are not even human. If you don’t have a civic registration number6 you cannot do anything. […] No one leaves their home country unless

they have to, no one leaves their home country just like that and just escape. Because it is not easy to leave your life and all your friends. All people who have escaped their home countries have had it really difficult, that is why they are here, that is why they struggle here (Maram 2013-08-16)

The quote comes from the closing event of the relay in Stockholm where Maram in a speech explained how the undocumentedness she and many others had been forced into, affected the everyday. A significant part of the work in both the musical and the relay was to make the participant’s experiences audiable, as the quote above illustrates. To create a context, claim a space and share experiences in an order where one is not accounted can be understood as constitutive of political subjectivity. Two aspects make this process political: firstly, the creation of communities independent of legal status and secondly, acting as if one had the rights that one is denied, thereby making oneself a political subject. As we initially pointed out it is not how you are categorised, in terms of citizen or undocumented, but how you act that defines politics. As actions have a start and an end, a rupture in the police is always

6 The civic registration number is used to a great extent in Sweden. You are asked to give your civic registration number

(your date of birth plus four control digits indicating sex and place of birth) for a variety of activities, renting a video, or a book at the library, when in contact with health care, schools, work etc.


temporary. In this section we have analysed how the organisation of the musical and the relay produce possibilities for political subjectivization. Important to have in mind when analysing dissensus is that the police, in the Rancièrean sense of the word, always are present. This will be discussed further in the next section.


In the end of the summer plainclothes police arrested two members in the musical, Ghasem and Abdullah, outside their home. The arrest took place around 6 pm and both were taken to custody in Malmö where they were locked into separate rooms. Ghasem were under 18 years old and could therefore not be held in custody or detention the time that the border police needed in order to make the arrangement of his deportation. According to Swedish law, unaccompanied refugee children exceptionally can be put in detention7, and only in direct connection to the deportation8 of the child

(Migrationsverket 2006). Due to pressure from his psychologist9, and as Ghasem was under 18 years

old, he was released around 10 pm the same night. Abdullah, who recently turned 18, was after one night in custody put in detention while waiting to be deported to Italy, the country that according to the Dublin Regulation had been determined responsible for his asylum application. The incident affected all members of the musical and those lacking legal status were even more afraid that the police would detect them too. However, the arrest also showed that the group had formed strong bonds to each other as an intense organizing to stop the deportation started.

During the three weeks that Abdullah was detained a lawyer was contacted, a visiting schedule was planned to make sure that Abdullah had visits every day, those without legal status who could not visit the detention wrote letters to Abdullah, media was contacted and two demonstrations in support of Abdullah’s case were organized. At one of these demonstrations a friend of Abdullah in the musical held a speech inspired of his lines in the musical:

I also resided as undocumented during a year and a half. Those were years of always present fear to be sent back. The new time and the new days cannot replace those that were not allowed to exist. […] I wish for a world without borders. It is enough now!

The members did all they could in order to stop the deportation. Despite all efforts Abdullah was deported only three days before he would have been able to apply for asylum in Sweden10. He was

deported on a chartered plane together with six policemen and one more asylum seeker.

The arrest and the deportation demonstrated the always-present risk to suddenly be torn apart from ones context. The incident revealed the fragile existence of the musical in relation to the regulations put into force by the nation state. Within the musical group several discussions were held on if and how to proceed with the project, and one issue brought forward was that it was judged to be too risky that many persons lacking residence permit gathered at the same place. Nevertheless, a final decision was commonly taken to continue with the project as it was put forward that it felt even more important after the deportation of Abdullah. The musical group also together worked to create a scene telling the story of the deportation, where the lines were based on the members’ experiences of the incident, quotes from media, the airline company involved, employees at the custody, etcetera. Abdullah participated in the scene through a recording made online where he says:

I am in Rome. I don’t know what will happen to me now.

7 The Migration Board runs the detentions in Sweden.

8 Children can be put in detention together with a legal guardian for 72 hours. If there are extraordinary circumstances the

time in detention can be prolonged for 72 hours (Migrationsverket 2006).

9 Both boys were under treatment at the Team for traumatized refugees, at the Child and youth psychiatry in Malmö. 10 If you apply for asylum in Sweden and have had your finger prints taken in another EU-country and therefore considered

a Dublin case, there is a possibility that the Dublin case is prescribed if you manage to remain clandestine for 18 months. After 18 months you can apply for asylum again and get your application assessed in Sweden. For Abdullah three days were missing before he had had the right to have his asylum application assessed in Sweden.


The contact with Abdullah continued through Facebook and those members who had the possibility went to visit him in Rome. Groups working with refugee issues were contacted in Rome in order to help facilitate for Abdullah. Abdullah also viewed the premiere of the musical through an online service and at many rehearsals the musical ensemble spoke to him. When Erfan was asked to mention one performance with the musical that had meant something special to him he told about the time that Abdullah saw the musical online:

Erfan: But he was deported then to Italy and he had many goals and dreams in Sweden that he wanted to do but all his dreams disappeared and he could not develop them. Now he is in Italy and he does not know anyone there and he has to start again to get to know people, and that is hard. You cannot move all the time and get to know people, get to know people.

Emma: mmm

Erfan: And that’s why I was very sad and it was that time [that performance] was really special to me. Me myself, I thought if it was me instead of Abdullah, how I was thinking, how I was feeling (2014-02-05)

Politics is about redefining and challenging the police that depoliticizes certain questions and persons. The challenge takes place through acts that takes its point of departure on equality, independent on how you are accounted for in the police. Abdullah in different ways continued to be a member of the musical, he was present both in the performance and as an audience. We believe that the context that he had been involved in creating was crucial to him being continuously present, despite the physical distance between Abdullah and the rest of the ensemble. In one sense Abdullah therefore was involved acting as a political subject and thereby becoming one. In other words, the police defined him as deportable, inaudible, passive, which was challenged when he and his story was given a central meaning to the musical group and the performance. Important to have in mind is that this analysis is something constructed in retrospect. We do not want to belittle that the deportation was disastrous for Abdullah. Furthermore, the political subjectivity that was constituted by the musical and Abdullah is not something permanent, it is created through acts that are temporal. The deportation was carried out and the performance of the musical has not transformed the overarching migration policies.


On 5 August 2013, when the Asylum Relay was a day’s walk from the city of Norrköping, the Migration Board’s press officer, Fredrik Bengtsson, was interviewed about the relay in Radio Sweden. In the interview, he referred to Afghanistan to exemplify his reasoning:

Fredrik Bengtsson: We do not send any refugees back to Afghanistan.

Journalist: These stories do however turn up now and then. What is it that these stories recur periodically?

Fredrik Bengtsson: I think there is a fairly strong lobby in Sweden that wants to change the Swedish asylum system and it is free for all to enjoy and think in a democratic society. And then it is also so that it is still rare to hear of these 75 percent of Afghans who are actually granted permission. We should also remember that the Swedish system is again and again raised as an example by the United Nations because of its legal security. And therefore, I actually become a bit upset when I hear these statements that come time and again that it is not legally secure, that it is not worthy and so on.

Journalist: Mm. Will you meet with those who are walking in this Asylum Relay?

Fredrik Bengtsson: We talk to everyone who wants to talk to us. We are a very open government (Radio Sweden 2013-08-05)

When the members of the relay heard about the statement from the Swedish Migration Board, the reactions varied from person to person. Some thought that the press officer’s discomposure was laughable. Others became upset for him neglecting their experiences while spreading false information such as saying that the Asylum Relay was run by a lobby, which brings one to think about a the wealthy interest groups. After a short meeting it was determined that the relay would bring the Migration Board to account for its statement. ”Let’s see how open they are when it comes to the crunch,” several members of the group argued. It was determined that two people, Ali and Masoud, would go to the Migration Board and they later asked if Pouran could follow.


On the way to the Migration Board in Norrköping, which also is the head office of the authority, Masoud and Ali expressed a presentiment that nobody would listen to them. Once in the waiting room the conversation continued about the long waiting times at the Migration Board’s office for the registration of asylum applications.

Masoud: A day and a half. Two days almost.

Ali: A day and a half. Simply to give my fingerprint. […] This is the Migration Board. You can’t decide. You can’t do anything, because you are nobody. Nobody wants to listen to you here. Nobody wants to look at you. Nobody wants to hear you…

Masoud: you. Migration Board. (laughs) Migraine Board (2013-08-07)

After long negotiations with the customer service’s unit manager and several hours of waiting Masoud and Ali finally succeeded to get the press officer to travel down from Stockholm to meet them. The relay used the Migration Board’s own statement about being an open government, to push the claim to be listened to.

The meeting, where the press officer and his security guard participated, consisted largely of the press officer referring to the law and thus renouncing the responsibility from the authority, while Ali and Masoud both argued against him and criticized the press officer and the Migration Board as a whole.

Ali: The Migration Board should listen to us, occasionally at least. Press officer: Sure, I think so too and we do that.

Ali: (close to bursting out in laughter) No, I don’t think so. I had to wait two days and in the end only got five minutes to talk at the Migrations Board in Malmö.

Press officer: What you’re saying is not okay.

Ali: That’s exactly the problem. You listen, you say that it is not okay, but at the same time you say that Sweden has a human refugee policy. You say no, I know that the Dublin regulation is not okay […] we know what the situation is in Afghanistan, you know that 6,5 million children in Afghanistan can not go to school because they have to work, and 100 000 children…

Masoud: The children are dying because of violence, war, several things. There is nobody that can take care of the children, yet still Sweden sends the children there (2013-08-07)

Although the relay had used the principle of free access to public records which the press officer had referred to in his statement on the radio, the quotations above shows that the meeting takes place at the Swedish Migration Board’s premises. In the conversation the press officer tries to disarm Masoud and Ali’s criticism by claiming that he agrees with and listens to them. Being made inaudible does not always mean not being allowed to speak, but rather that what you say is not recognized. In the conversation above this is exemplified precisely by the press officer’s effort to maintain consensus on which they all agree.

That the press officer did not hear or acknowledge the criticism Ali and Masoud expressed created frustration for Ali and Masoud. They finally concluded the meeting by taking the press officer out to meet the relay who were manifesting outside the office building. Once outside the building the press officer could no longer set the framework for the meeting. His attempt to create a notion of consensus was broken by the relay, which chanted slogans that no one is illegal and that all should get residence permits.


When Ali, in relation to the Migration Board, says ”You can’t do anything, because you are nobody. Nobody wants to listen to you here. Nobody wants to look at you. Nobody wants to hear you…” he pinpoints the situation of undocumented refugees and the deprival of a political voice.

If there is someone you do not wish to recognize as a political being you begin by not seeing them as bearers of politicalness, by not understanding what they say, by not hearing that it is an utterance coming out of their mouths (Rancière 2001: 11)

This categorization is challenged when undocumented people act as if they were political subjects, constituting themselves through their acts. Making politics is thus not about debating different views


on an issue or to act as an already counted actor (e.g. parliamentary politicians or non-profit organizations), but about who and what is counted subjects with political voices.

As undocumented you are not political just by existing, but through action, you can constitute yourself as a political subject. This is shown for example in the musical where members who were undocumented, afraid of being arrested, stood fully exposed as actors on a stage and put forward demands for change. Thus, politics, and what is counted as political, is not something that is static and fixed but rather re-definable and in constant change. The organizing within the musical group to stop the deportation of Abdullah, can be seen as a refusal to conform to the categorization the police has counted one in. Abdullah continued to be a part of the musical even though he no longer physically was in the same place. Masoud and Ali forced the Swedish Migration Board to meet them, even if the Migration Board refused to hear the content of what was expressed.

In the outset, we asked ourselves, which political subjectivity that is possible and how it is made possible. With the support of Rancière’s theory, the analysis of the musical and relay shows that they both mould contexts that creates opportunities for subjectivitzation and making of politics. Although these kinds of actions can be seen as ruptures in the police, it is important not to overrate their importance. In research involving the situation of undocumented persons, there is a risk of objectifying them and their actions by attributing them a certain significance that suits one’s purpose and theoretical framework. What we describe in this text is about the reality that characterizes the lives of these people. The deportation of Abdullah was conducted. Ali and Masoud stated that the Migration Board had not listened and Masoud was likewise deported shortly after the meeting took place in Norrköping. The processes that excludes Ali, Masoud and Abdullah, deprived them ultimately of their political participation and subjectivity. Despite that a rupture was created in the police and although Ali, Masoud and Abdullah in some sense constituted themselves as political subjects, the deportations continue and the restrictive migration policies stay in force.

This can be understood seeing that the examples of dissensus described above are by definition temporary. Consequently, even if persons constitute themselves as political subjects by claiming a place today, they can still be deported tomorrow. We believe, however, that examining and participating in the musical and the relay teach us that conceptions of who can be a political subject is a dynamic process under constant challenge. Ali’s, Masoud’s, Abdullah’s, the musical’s and the relay’s acts occur at a time of increased control, criminalization and border control, while at the same time we can see an ongoing mobilization against these processes. It is difficult to say what significance these acts have for the overall structures. However, what we can say, is that many of those who were active in both groups continue to demand a place and to be listened to by organizing themselves.

We would like to bring this paper to an end with a quote from one of the members of the relay, who at the time of the interview was reflecting on the relay and the ongoing struggle conducted by him and his friends, once back in his hometown.

We continue for nothing has really changed. We want to change the asylum politics. (Abbas, from the relay, 2013-09-06).


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